Columbia Metro Baptist Churches-in-Association will celebrate the CMBA Family Week of Prayer May 20-27. This annual emphasis is set aside by CMBA to focus on the strength of the family relationships of Baptist churches in the Midlands of South Carolina.
Dan Griffin, pastor at Harmony Baptist Church in Elgin, is the 2018 moderator of CMBA and said networking with other churches – in his community, the association, and the state convention – has always been a big part of his ministry within the local church.
“Going back to my days at Clemson and in seminary at Southwestern, I enjoyed being active in parachurch groups and working with people outside my comfort zone,” Griffin said on Thursday, May 3 after gathering with others in Elgin for the celebration of the National Day of Prayer. “The 300 members of Harmony Baptist Church aren’t going to reach the world by ourselves, but we can work together in our association, state convention, and other Elgin churches to reach the world.
“We have already signed on to participate in the association’s Operation Inasmuch project that will occur in September,” Griffin said. “It will be a single day of service throughout the association, and church members will get up and get out into their communities to serve through a variety of projects. The churches here in Elgin will focus on serving our local community, which is within the greater association.”
Harmony Baptist Church, in Kershaw County, is an 1863 founding member of the Fairfield Baptist Association, which later became the Columbia Metro Baptist Association. “Even in the Civil War years, we saw the benefit of working together to benefit our communities with the Gospel,” Griffin said.
Admittedly, like many Baptist churches, Harmony is an aging congregation currently searching for a student minister who can revitalize the church’s children’s and student ministries. This doesn’t stop Harmony from being a church engaged with its community beyond its walls and being involved with other churches in impacting their community.
“We do summer nights of praise among the Baptist churches in Elgin,” Griffin said. “We rotate Sunday nights between the churches. Our association covers a lot of geography, and so it’s good to work with those near us to plan how you are going to reach the community for Christ. Our Columbia Metro Baptist Association empowers that spirit.” Harmony Baptist also joins with CMBA churches to prepare Christmastime prisoner packets for South Carolina inmates.
“I like the direction of new (Director of Missions) George Bullard, focusing on church planting and revitalization of churches,” Griffin said. “George has a lifetime of experience in church planting and revitalization, and that’s what our churches need, and it’s what our association needs. Projects like Operation Inasmuch will get us moving beyond the walls, and the association’s Vision Tuesday learning opportunities help stir energy among pastors and leaders for working together. Our association has a great hand on the pulse of what its churches need to do and where we need to go.”
Harmony Baptist is a product of church planting within the Elgin community. It was started by Congaree Baptist Church as Bear Creek Baptist Church, and changed its name to Harmony Baptist in 1839. Harmony went on to start Union Baptist Church, which then started Hillcrest Baptist Church.
Griffin is a Charleston native, attending Clemson during the “Jesus Movement” of the late 1960s and early 1970s. “I was an engineering major and then was called to the ministry, and changed my major to history,” Griffin said. He finished Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in 1978 and has pastored one North Carolina church, and South Carolina churches in Saluda, Fort Mill, St. George and now Harmony in Elgin. This summer will mark his 12th year as pastor at Harmony Baptist.
“Harmony has a rich history in association life and the life of this community,” Griffin said. “My love and respect for history have made Harmony very special to me.” During the past 12 years, the church has restarted its Vacation Bible School, had annual revival services and has been involved in South Carolina Disaster Relief, especially serving after the floods and hurricanes of recent years. The ladies of the church make blankets for people who are sick, including shut-ins. The church also supports Hispanic ministry in a nearby mobile home park.
Griffin is married to Edith, who will retire this year as a mathematics teacher at Blythewood High School. She has taught for 40 years, mostly in South Carolina schools. The Griffins have two daughters, both Winthrop University graduates. Cheryl is a chiropractic assistant; Katie works with The Pentagon.